How much change have you gone through in the past few weeks? Think about it: your routine of getting dressed, out the door, off to school, and off to work has been completely altered. The schedule is different with an overwhelming amount of free time. And all of the places we’d go to fill up that time are now empty.
I went from completing my last semester on campus where I had connected with an amazing group of writers to now connecting through chats and reading material online on a totally different schedule. My office moved to my desk where I did my homework. The mower is broken, and the grass is growing. The friendly Walmart employee hands me a number so I can get my groceries. Oh, and add a five-month-old puppy to this level of change, and you get me. Now responsible for another in a time when I am stressed over how I will take care of myself.
For some, anxiety is a depilating worry and downward spiral, shortness of breath and sweaty palms. And it’s scary. I’ve been there. When so much change is thrown at me and I lose my control, the anxiety produced a Hulk like anger that I felt I couldn’t unleash. It was still slipping out though. I yelled at the puppy. I yelled at me. I hit the steering wheel when the light wouldn’t change fast enough. I snapped at my very gracious mother. I sighed constantly. The burning in my soul was threatening to break the levy of patience and peace I had built. I was afraid of what I would do to myself or to someone else. And I felt I had nowhere to go. I mean, we have a curfew now and gathering is limited to ten people, and the government wants us to stay home. So, where could I go?
Who would understand what I felt?
What would they think of me?
I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121: 1-2)
I prayed, I waited. I prepared to start counseling again. Then I sat on my neighbor’s porch, drinking coffee (while six feet away) and asked them a question about managing teams. I began with, “I’m so scared right now and it’s causing an unbelievable amount of anger. I don’t want this to affect them.”
My neighbor raised her hand. I sat there, momentarily stunned in disbelief. Then I began to talk about my symptoms. I don’t have control so I’m lashing out and I’m worried about my parents still going in to work and my firefighter/paramedic brother and my niece and nephew and I stomp around demanding change but powerless to do anything about it.
My neighbor smiled. “Welcome to the club.”
Maybe you, like me, look for help outside the circle of friends and family God has given us. Maybe out of fear of how it will change their perception of you. Maybe out of fear of sharing an imperfection.
We tend to look so far away for help. David was looking to mountains and hills, landmarks we can see from a distance. It’s not wrong to seek help from outside sources, and sometimes, it’s necessary to do so. In the midst of the storm, when there is no peace, it can be easy to forget that help is sometimes as close as a video chat, or the porch next door. David had that epiphany in the next verse. He reminds us that our help comes from the Lord, the one who put the mountains and the hills as landmarks to His faithfulness and goodness. He is with us, in us. And He has put people in our lives, like next door neighbors and online friends to remind us that the help we need is so very close.
In the midst of our anger and fear, worry and doubt, let’s remember we are not alone. He is indeed a very present help in times of need. The grass and the flowers and the trees all remind us of His goodness. Testaments to His care over us are all around us.